Junior Abbey Carlson leads a trio of Vanderbilt women’s golfers in contention to participate in the Arnold Palmer Cup, a prestigious international competition scheduled this summer.
Carlson, from Lake Mary, Fla., enters the spring ranked sixth among all American collegiate players. The top six collegiate players after the upcoming spring campaign automatically qualify for the Palmer Cup team. Two Vanderbilt teammates, freshman Auston Kim and senior Courtney Zeng, are currently ranked No. 17 and No. 21, respectively, in the standings.
The Palmer Cup, featuring American and international teams each consisting of 12 collegiate male and female players, will be staged June 7-9 at the Alotian Club near Little Rock, Arkansas. In May, six remaining players will be announced to join the half-dozen automatic qualifiers.
Last year, the Palmer Cup was expanded to include teams consisting of collegiate women. The Americans captured the 2018 edition at the Evian Resort Club in southeastern France by a 38.5-21.5 margin.
Carlson, Kim and Zeng can vault up the Palmer Cup rankings Feb. 3-5 when Greg Allen’s Commodores begin the spring schedule at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla. The UCF Challenge is the first of five spring tournaments for the Commodores leading to the Southeastern Conference Championships in mid-April and NCAA Regional Championships in early May.
Carlson is coming off a superb performance last fall that featured a medalist win at the Mason Rudolph Championships in September and three top-10 finishes in four tournaments. Her triumph in the Mason Rudolph, held at the Vanderbilt Legends North Course, featured back-to-back rounds of 6-under 66 and paced the Commodores to a commanding 11-stroke cushion in the team standings.
Additionally last spring, Carlson earned top-10 individual finishes at the Battle at the Beach in Cabo, Mexico and the Powerade Cougar Classic near Charleston, S.C. She owns a No. 3 national ranking from Golfweek.
Carlson and Kim have been included in watch lists for the prestigious ANNIKA Award, presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate golfer. Kim, a product of St. Augustine, Fla., opened her Commodore career with a third-place individual finish at the Cougar Classic, including a final round of 6-under 66. She followed that performance with a seventh-place result at the Mason Rudolph (3-under par total of 141) and a 20th place finish at the Tar Heel Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Zeng, from Orlando, Fla., opened the 2018 fall campaign in spectacular fashion, firing a career-low 7-under par round of 65 en route to a runner-up individual finish at the Cougar Classic. She followed that performance by helping the Commodores to the team title at the Mason Rudolph.
The next Arnold Palmer Cup ranking will be announced in mid-February.